Smokefree legislation ‘Its about health and its about time’ – Labour Party Conference Fringe Meeting

Monday 26 September 2005

ASH Media Alert:  Embargo: 00:01 Monday 26th September 2005
Decisions are imminent on the legislation to restrict smoking in public places and workplaces as part of the forthcoming Health Improvement and Protection Bill. The Labour Party Conference Smokefree Legislation Fringe Meeting ‘Its about health and its about time’ will provide an opportunity to hear Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Public Health and a range of eminent health speakers discuss the proposals for smokefree legislation to cover all workplaces and enclosed public places with exemptions for pubs that don’t serve food and private members clubs1. Press are welcome and there will be opportunities to ask questions of all the speakers at the meeting.

‘Secondhand smoke is a killer’ Peter Hollins, Director General of the British Heart Foundation said ‘the case for comprehensive legislation is now overwhelming. Everyone has a right to a smokefree workplace. The current proposals will leave the most heavily exposed workers unprotected and will lead to an increase in health inequalities.’

Professor Alex Markham, Chief Executive, Cancer Research UK said ‘Research shows that many pubs would drop food in order to get round the Government’s proposed smokefree law2. This confirms fears that a partial ban would widen the health gap between rich and poor, as up to half of pubs in deprived areas could be exempt. By introducing comprehensive smokefree legislation the Government would demonstrate that it is truly serious about addressing health inequalities.”

Chair of the fringe meeting Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH said that ‘It’s a principle of good regulation, as this Government accepts, that it should be easily understood, easily implemented and easily enforced. To allow exemptions for pubs that don’t serve food and private members clubs would be at odds with these principles.’

Hugh Robertson, Senior Health and Safety Officer, TUC said today that ‘the trade union movement is unequivocal. We need comprehensive legislation with no exemptions urgently. Every day that smoking is allowed in workplaces, two workers die from other peoples smoke. There is simply no possible argument for not going ahead with this now.’

Details for the meeting are as follows: Speakers:                                                                                   


Monday 26 September Caroline Flint MP, Minister for Public Health
Time: 19:00 to 20:00 Peter Hollins, British Heart Foundation
Location: Paginini Ballroom, Prof Alex Markham, Cancer Research UK
  Old Ship Hotel, Brighton Hugh Robertson, TUC
    Chair: Deborah Arnott, ASH

Refreshments will be served. Questions will be allowed at the conclusion of the meeting.

Notes and links:

[1]  Department of Health, Consultation on the Smokefree Elements of the Health Improvement and Protection Bill (pdf)

[2] Cancer Research UK and ASH survey of pubs: Health inequalities set to worsen as many pubs would drop food for exemption from smokefree law


Contact: Deborah Arnott, ASH:  020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available

     Nick Stewart, Cancer Research UK: 020 7061 8317 (w) 07050 264 059 (out of hours)

     Ian Fannon, British Heart Foundation: 0207 487 7172 (w) 07764 290 381 (m) ISDN available


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